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The Frick Collection 

Members Magazine Winter 2003 

Anne Vallayer-Coster: 

Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette 

January 22 through March 23, 2003 

Letter from 
THE Director 

With the start of the New Year, it is tempting 
to look back over the past five and survey the 
developments made at The Frick Collection 
since I came on board as Director in 
September 1997 .1 speak with pride when I say 
that I believe we have come quite a way, and indeed I mean “we,” as this has been a team 
effort at both the Collection and the Frick Art Reference Library, in conjunction with a 
very supportive Board of Trustees. 

Our exhibitions, of course, have broken new ground, be they smaller “focus exhibi¬ 
tions,” such as those highlighting works by Velazquez, El Greco, and Manet, or more 
exhaustive shows such as The Medieval Housebook, Watteau and His World, or Greuze 
the Draftsman. For 2003, we look forward to presenting several more of great merit, 
including Anne Vallayer-Coster; Whistler, Women, and Fashion; and dynamic shows fea¬ 
turing artists well known (Boucher) and less known (Tetrode). Despite the fact that 
at the Frick our permanent collection is our forte, visitors always are eager to have their 
horizons expanded, and, more than ever, we are happy to oblige. 

Physically, we have had to tend to the home fires, as our buildings are getting no 
younger. The entrance hall was reconfigured so as to be brighter and more welcoming, 
and the Fifth Avenue Garden walls and fences as well as the surrounding sidewalk have 
been put in good order once again—these are examples of the sorts of things most often 
noticed if left undone. An Acoustiguide tour of the Collection was successfully intro¬ 
duced in 1998, as was its printed counterpart. (Mindful that a high percentage of our vis¬ 
itors come from well beyond the metropolitan area, both the audio and printed versions 
are available in six languages.) We have celebrated our youngest constituency, ten-year- 
olds, with a rite-of-passage party welcoming them to our midst, and we have opened our 
second-floor Drawing Room, offering afternoon tea to Fellows in need of rest and quiet. 
We have also expanded our hours, welcoming visitors to our galleries on Friday evenings. 
This very magazine, launched two years ago, helps keep our message and presence ener¬ 
gized and, we hope, keeps you, our members, aware of your essential role. 

At the Frick Art Reference Library we have nearly completed the electronic conver¬ 
sion of our holdings, so as to make them available to users beyond our walls. Our web¬ 
site continues to expand its usefulness and garner plaudits, and visitors can now order 
catalogues, books, and other items online from our renowned Museum Shop. 
Conservation and archival efforts ensure that our past is as vital as our future. 

The increasing involvement and contributions of our support groups—ranging 
from education volunteers to the Council and the Young Fellows Steering Committee— 
have been inspiring. Their participation in recent times well demonstrates the belief 
that support is not only welcome but vital to the Frick. 

The strength and commitment of our staff are laudable; from Security to 
Conservation, from Curatorial to Education, I am enormously proud of every depart¬ 
ment. All in all, I hope we fulfill or, even better, exceed the expectations of all those who 
love the Frick. 

Board of Trustees 

Helen Clay Chace 

Howard Phipps, Jr. 

Vice President 

L. F. Boker Doyle 

1 . Townsend Burden III 

Peter P. Blanchard III 
Margot C. Bogert 
Walter Joseph Patrick Curley 
Emily T. Frick 

Henry Clay Frick II, Chairman Emeritus 
Nicholas H. J. Hall, ex officio 
Paul G. Pennoyer, Jr., Trustee Emeritus 
Juan Sabater 
Melvin R. Seiden 

Council of The Frick Collection 

Nicholas H. J. Hall 

Julian Agnew 
Irene Roosevelt Aitken 
Jean A. Bonna 
W. M. Brady 
Jonathan Brown 
Vivien R. Clark 
Peter Duchin 
Robert Garrett 
Mauro A. Herlitzka 
Jon Landau 
Douglas B. Leeds 
Martha Loring, ex officio 
Otto Naumann 
Diane Allen Nixon 
Richard E. Oldenburg 
Paul G. Pennoyer, Jr. 

Marc Porter 

Samuel Sachs II, ex officio 
Melvin R. Seiden 
Deirdre C. Stam 
Wynant D. Vanderpoel III 
Nina Zilkha 

The Frick Collection Hours 

10:00 TO 6:00 Tuesday through Thursday; 
10:00 TO 9:00 Fridays; 10:00 to 6:00 
Saturdays; 1:00 to 6:00 Sundays; closed 
Mondays and holidays 

Best regards. 

Samuel Sachs II 

Frick Art Reference Library Hours 

10:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday; 
9:30 to 1:00 Saturdays; closed Sundays, 
holiday weekends, Saturdays in June and 
July, and during the month of August 

Members’ Magazine Winter 2003 




Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette 



Hals’s Portrait of an Elderly Man: A Recent Proposal 



Helen Clay Frick Foundation Archives Tell Story of 
Frick Family History and Businesses 

' PAGE & 


Archives Reveal New Information about Chatsworth Acquisitiori 

PAGE 10 


Yvonne Elet Joins Curatorial Staff as First Andrew W. Mellon Fellow 

PAGE 12 


Orchid Tradition Continues with Help from 
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II 

PAGE 13 


Autumn Dinner Guests Pay Tribute to Charlie Rose 

PAGE 14 


Museum Shop, Lectures, Concerts 

PAGE 16 

ON OUR cover: 

Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818), detail of Bouquet of 
Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, with Peaches and Grapes, 1776, 
oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Dallas 
Museum of Art Foundation for the Arts Collection, 

Mrs. John O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg 



Anne Vallayer-Coster: 

Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette 

January 22 through March 23, 2003 

D uring her lifetime, Anne Vallayer- 
Coster (1744-1818) was considered 
one of France’s best still life painters, her 
works celebrated by the critics and collected 
by many of her contemporaries, including 
Marie-Antoinette and courtiers in her circle. 
As was the case with many eighteenth- 
century artists whose reputations declined 
following the French Revolution, the art of 
Vallayer-Coster has, until quite recently, 
been something of a well-kept secret, 
admired by specialists of the period but 
largely unknown to the general public. 
Opening later this month at The Frick 
Collection, Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to 
the Court of Marie Antoinette will present 
some thirty-five works by the artist and is 
the first retrospective exhibition of Vallayer- 
Coster’s paintings. 

One of four daughters born to a Parisian 
goldsmith and jewelry dealer, Vallayer seems 
not to have entered the studio of a profes¬ 
sional painter, but instead received her train¬ 
ing from a variety of sources: her father, the 
botanical specialist Madeleine Basseport, 
and the celebrated marine painter Joseph 
Vernet. Clearly something of a prodigy, on 
July 28,1770, at the tender age of twenty-six, 
she was made both associate and full mem¬ 
ber of the Academie royale de peinture et de 
sculpture after presenting “nine or ten paint¬ 
ings in her possession,” two of which the 
Academy retained as reception pieces for its 
collection (the pair. The Attributes of Music 
and The Attributes of Painting, Sculpture, and 
Architecture, is now in the collection of the 
Louvre). Vallayer’s arrival at the Academy 
was something of a media event: flattering 
verses appeared in the Mercure de France, 

and the engraver Jean-Georges Wille, pres¬ 
ent at the ceremony, spoke admiringly of 
“this charming young woman...whose talent 
is really that of a past master in the genre of 
still life painting.” 

At the time Vallayer was admitted into 
the Academy, still life painting in France was 
at the bottom of the Academy’s hierarchy of 
genres (its value system placed the painting 
of the human figure in narratives drawn 
from religion, history, and mythology at the 
apex of artistic achievement). The genre had 
been dominated by Jean-Baptiste Oudry 
(1686-1755) and Jean-Simeon Chardin (1699- 
1779), but by the 1770s, the aging Chardin had 
more or less given up still life for portraits in 
pastel. Nonetheless, Vallayer’s impressive 
Attributes of Music (see page 4 ) repeated a 
formula made famous by Chardin in his 
overdoor decorations for the royal resi¬ 
dences of Choisy and Bellevue. Casually 
disposed across a sumptuous blue velvet 
tablecloth trimmed with gold are various 
string and wind instruments, including a set 
of bagpipes, with an open musical score and 
snuffed-out candle. The variety of tex¬ 
tures—from the hammered brass of the 
horn, the luxurious embroidery of the bag, 
the crinkled edges of the sheets of music, 
and the polished maple of the violin—are 
masterfully rendered, as is the light that illu¬ 
minates each instrument. 

Now that she was an Academician, 
Vallayer was permitted to participate in the 
biennial Salon, which guaranteed its 
exhibitors a degree of commercial success. It 
is likely that the paintings presented for her 
admission in 1770 were again on view in the 
Louvre a year later, at the Salon of 1771, 


where she showed eleven paintings. Until the 
Revolution, she exhibited regularly in the 
Salons and over the years showed a range of 
works from Chardinesque overdoors and 
baskets of fruit, to trophies of the hunt that 
evoked Oudry and Desportes, to grandiose 
displays of household objects in the manner 
of Dutch and Flemish painters of the Golden 
Age. Curiously, although it is as a painter of 
floral still lifes that she is best known today, 
it was not until the Salon of 1775 that 
Vallayer exhibited her first essays in this 
genre. Two years later, at the Salon of 1777, 
she submitted her most ambitious floral 
paintings, the splendid and imposing 


Alexandre Roslin (1718-1793), Portrait of Anne 
Vallayer-Coster, c. 1783, oil on canvas, private collection 


Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818), Still Life with 
Seashells and Coral, 1769, oil on canvas, Musee 
du Louvre, Paris 

2 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 



Winter 2003 ^ 



Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase 
(see facing page) and its pendant, Bouquet of 
Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (illustrated on 
the magazine s cover), painted for the hon¬ 
orary Academician Jean-Baptiste-Franc^ois 
de Montulle, a former household officer of 
Queen Maria Leszczynska and the head of 
the Gobelins tapestry manufactory. 

Among Vallayer s most original canvases 
is the superbly executed Still Life with 
Seashells and Coral of 1769 (see page 3). 
Although the painting failed to find a buyer 
when it was shown at the Salon of 1771, it 
eventually was owned by Louis-Fran^ois- 
joseph de Bourbon, prince de Conti, the lib¬ 

ertine and fractious first cousin of Louis XV. 
The aquatic curiosities so meticulously 
depicted, including the gorgonia that rise, 
flamelike, against the dark background, 
recently had been reclassified by naturalists 
as belonging to the animal rather than veg¬ 
etable realm. Paired with the now lost Vhse, 
Minerals, Crystals, and Vials of Spirit, it 
reproduces with the greatest accuracy more 
than seventeen different types of mollusks, 
gorgonia, and sponges, reflecting the Enlight¬ 
enment’s fascination with conchology. 

Although it is not known how Vallayer 
insinuated herself into Marie-Antoinette’s 
good graces, by 1779 the monarch owned at 

least one canvas by her, the Bust of a Young 
Vestal (now in a private collection), which 
was exhibited at the Salon that year as 
“belonging to the Queen.” Marie-Antoinette 
had already intervened to ensure that 
Vallayer was given an apartment and studio 
in the Louvre, into which she eventually 
moved in 1781. In July 1780, Vallayer was 
at work on a pastel portrait of Marie- 
Antoinette, considered by the queen to be 
“a very poor likeness”; notwithstanding her 
disappointment, on April 21,1781, the queen 
(along with the Minister of Fine Arts and 
several notable collectors) was present at 
Versailles to witness Vallayer’s marriage to 

4 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


Jean-Pierre Silvestre Coster, a lawyer and 
office holder from a prosperous banking 
dynasty from Lorraine. Although Vallayer- 
Coster (as she now signed her pictures) 
would soon be replaced in Marie- 
Antoinette’s esteem by the brilliant por¬ 
traitist Elizabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun 
(1755-1842), she remained close to the 
queen s entourage, painting portraits of one 
of her ladies-in-waiting, as well as producing 
a series of portraits of the kings aunts, 
Mesdames Sophie, Adelaide, and Victoire. 

While publicly acclaimed as a painter of 
still lifes, throughout her career Vallayer- 
Coster also executed portraits and genre 
paintings—the latter often showing women 
engaged in genteel activities—which she did 
not hesitate to exhibit at the Salon. Untrained 
as a figure painter (the Academy’s life class 
was open only to the male sex), she showed 
a less firm grasp of the rendition of anatomy 
and expression than of the elegant transcrip¬ 
tion of what contemporaries called “la nature 
immobile.” In the 1780s, critics were often 
unsparing in their appraisal of her efforts in 
the higher genres, lamenting her decision to 
tackle subjects that seemed beyond her com¬ 
petence. “As for Madame Coster,” noted the 
widely read Memoires secrets in September 
1785, “we are vexed that she has almost com¬ 
pletely abandoned the genre of still life, in 
which she excelled, in order to paint por¬ 
traits and historiated portraits in which she 
is greatly inferior to her rivals.” 

Then, as now, journalists were prone to 
exaggeration. For as her continuing output 
of flowers and fruits, hunt trophies, and 
tables groaning with victuals makes abun¬ 
dantly clear, Vallayer-Coster maintained a 
varied production of immaculately crafted 
still life painting for more than half a cen¬ 
tury. Her last canvas, the monumental Still 
Life with Lobster (now in the Louvre), exhib¬ 


ited at the Salon of 1817 and offered in hom¬ 
age to the restored Bourbon monarch, Louis 
XVIII, is an elegiac summation of the vari¬ 
ous themes that had preoccupied her during 
her fifty-year career. If the stone parapets, 
velvety grapes, and trussed game still owe 
much to Chardin, the robust coloring, 
imposing compositions, and meticulously 
described surfaces generally found in her 
oeuvre are elements of a more personal and 
original style. As a critic to the Salon of 
1773 noted, “For the painting of inani¬ 
mate objects, grapes, peaches, plums, and 
musical instruments, she is without rival.” 
—Colin B. Bailey, Chief Curator 

Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court of 
Marie-Antoinette was organized by the Dallas 
Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas. The exhibition 
is made possible through the support of the 
Fellows of The Frick Collection. An illustrated 
catalogue is available in the Museum Shop. 


Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain 
Vase, 1776, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, 

Dallas, Texas; Dallas Museum of Art Foundation for 
the Arts Collection, Mrs. John O’Hara Fund and gift 
of Michael L. Rosenberg 


Vallayer-Coster, The Attributes of Music, 1770, 
oil on canvas, Musee du Louvre, Paris 

Winter 2003 5 


Hals’s Portrait of an Elderly Man: 

A Recent Proposal 

T he Frick Collection is fortunate to 
have four paintings by the Dutch artist 
Frans Hals, all purchased by Henry Clay 
Frick between 1906 and 1917. Installed in the 
West Gallery, these paintings— Portrait of an 
Elderly Man, Portrait of a Woman, Portrait of 
a Painter, and Portrait of a Man —have vague 
titles since the names of the sitters are not 
known. Compelling new evidence, however, 
may have uncovered the identity of the sit¬ 
ter in the generically titled Portrait of an 
Elderly Man. 

Probably painted between 1627 and 1630, 
this work features a robust man dressed in a 
black doublet and swathed in a voluminous 
cloak. Heavy, slashing brush strokes, a char¬ 
acteristic of Hals’s style, replicate the sheen 
of the velvety material of the man’s right 
sleeve. A stiff white ruff encircles his thick 
neck, setting off his reddish complexion. He 
sports a graying beard and mustache, and 
his thinning hair recedes to reveal a large 
forehead. The man gazes directly at the 
viewer, his stance majestic and proud. Hals’s 
talent for creating powerful renderings of 
his subjects’ hands is certainly apparent in 
this portrait: the man’s left hand holds a 
glove, while his right hand rests on the back 
of a chair, clenched in a fist so tight that the 
skin on his knuckles is pulled taut. 

In his recently published survey of art 
collections in Haarlem, art historian Pieter 
Biesboer proposes Cornelis Backer (d. 1655) 
as the subject of the Frick painting, based on 
a positively identified portrait of Backer in 
Hals’s 1633 group portrait Assembly of 
Officers and Subalterns of the Civic Guard of 
St. Adrian at Haarlem (Backer is the second 
figure on the left). Biesboer notes the analo¬ 
gous physical features of the men in the two 

works: the balding head, the eyebrow 
shape, the broad nose, and even the fur¬ 
rowed lines on the respective foreheads. 
Both subjects also have heavily lidded eyes 
and share a beard and mustache styled in 
the same manner. 

Biesboer’s proposal is strengthened by 
his discovery of the posthumous inventory 
of Backer’s estate, drawn up on June 20, 

1656, which includes portraits of Backer 
and his wife: “2 contrafeytsels vande heer 
burgemr. Backer en zijne huysvrou” (two 
portraits of lord burgomaster Backer and 
his wife). The inventory’s confirmation that 
a portrait of Backer existed, in addition to 
the physical similarities between the subject 
of the Frick’s portrait and that of the identi¬ 
fied man in the militia group portrait, make 


6 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


Biesboer’s proposal seem highly plausible. 

On the sale invoice that Henry Clay Frick 
received from Duveen upon purchasing 
Hals’s painting on April ii, 1910, the title was 
listed as A Portrait of a Burgomaster. Later art 
historians doubted this identification, not¬ 
ing the lack of a coat of arms, which Hals 
included in his other portraits of burgomas¬ 
ters. Biesboer’s proposed identification lends 
credence to the former title, however, as 
Backer in fact served as a burgomaster in 
1633 and again in 1637-38. Since it is thought 
that the portrait was painted at a time when 
Backer did not hold that title, the lack of a 
coat of arms does not seem surprising. 

In addition to burgomaster. Backer held 
numerous other public positions, including 
colonel of the Civic Guard of St. Adrian, 
representative at the Admiralty, and repre¬ 
sentative to the States General. Perhaps Hals 
felt that Backer’s imposing posture and 
regal air alone were sufficient to convey his 
social importance. 

While the civic positions held by Backer 
suggest a successful public life, his personal 
life appears to have been less settled. His 
marriage in December 1630 to Cornelia 
Hendricksdr Vroom, daughter of the painter 
Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, began under 
ominous circumstances. The elder Vroom, a 
Roman Catholic, opposed his daughter’s 
marriage to Backer, a member of the Dutch 
Reformed Church. Following Cornelia’s 
elopement to Backer’s country estate at 
Velsen, Vroom charged Backer with the kid¬ 
napping and rape of his daughter, despite 
testimony by Cornelia’s maid and brother to 
the contrary. Sadly, Cornelia was disinherit¬ 
ed; the dispute was not settled until her son’s 
children received their legal share of the 

estate many years later. Biesboer suggests that 
the Frick portrait may have been commis¬ 
sioned to commemorate Backer’s marriage, 
which corresponds to the proposed date of 
the painting. 

Despite the fact that the subject’s identity 
was unknown in 1910 and his social status 
not explicitly indicated, Frick must have val¬ 
ued the painting greatly, since he paid Duveen 
the enormous sum of $194,800. One sus¬ 
pects that Hals, an art collector and dealer 
in his own right (and often in debt), would 
have been astounded by the exorbitant 
price paid for his work. —Margaret lacono, 
Curatorial Assistant to the Chief Curator 

For a more extensive discussion of Cornelius 
Backen please see Pieter Biesboer, Collections of 
Paintings in Haarlem 1572-1745, pages 138-40. 


Frans Hals (1582/83-1666), Assembly of Officers and 
Subalterns of the Civic Guard of St Adrian at Haarlem, 
1633, oil on canvas, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem 


Hals, detail of Cornells Backer from Assembly 
of Officers and Subalterns of the Civic Guard of 
St Adrian at Haarlem 


Hals, Portrait of an Elderly Man, c. 1627-30, oil on canvas 

Winter 2003 7 


Helen Clay Frick Foundation Archives Tell Story of 

Frick Family History and Businesses 

H enry Clay Frick is renowned for his 
art collection, but few people are 
aware of the rich and varied archival 
resources he left behind on his death in 1919. 
For more than forty years, Frick meticu¬ 
lously saved thousands of invoices, letters, 
photographs, and business records. Even 
receipts for routine expenses, such as dental 
work and household items including butter 
and milk, were carefully filed away. After his 
death, his daughter, Helen Clay Frick, con¬ 
tinued to save nearly everything that per¬ 
tained to the family’s activities. Today, their 
combined papers comprise The Helen Clay 
Frick Foundation Archives and serve as an 
invaluable tool for scholars and researchers 
interested in learning not only about the 
Fricks, but also about the business practices 
and lifestyle of an affluent American family 
during the Gilded Age. 

Now through April, visitors to the Frick 
Art Reference Library can see an exhibition 

featuring a selection of photographs, docu¬ 
ments, and scrapbooks from the archives, 
which date from Frick’s early business activ¬ 
ities in the 1870s up to the death of Miss 
Frick in 1984. 

Intensely private individuals, Frick and 
his daughter probably had no thought of 
maintaining these records for future schol¬ 
arly use. Rather, they retained them for their 
own reference purposes and took great care 
to develop organizational systems that 
would effectively serve their needs. The 
thorough documentation of every aspect of 
their family’s activities now happily coin¬ 
cides with the needs of scholars in fields as 
varied as art history, labor and social history, 
material culture, and architecture. 

The archives have already seen significant 
use by the Collection’s curatorial staff, as they 
explore the exhaustive documentation of the 
construction and furnishing of Frick’s New 
York home. As Chief Curator Colin B. Bailey 
notes, the archives have proven “a tremen¬ 
dous resource—a real treasure trove—in 
helping to understand the processes by which 
Frick built his house and his collection. We 
are learning more than we thought possible 
about how he made his decisions, as well as 
who influenced and inspired him.” 

From a more personal standpoint, the 
papers convey important information about 
the home and family life enjoyed by the 
Fricks. Photographs, postcard albums, and 
scrapbooks illustrate how, where, and with 
whom the family spent their time. Guest 


Henry Clay Frick married Adelaide Childs in 
Pittsburgh on December 15, 1881. This photograph 
was taken in Boston during their six-week honeymoon, 
which also included stops in New York, Philadelphia, 
and Washington, D.C. 

far left: 

Frick’s political connections enhanced his social 
position and also served his business interests. This 
menu is from a dinner given in honor of President 
and Mrs. McKinley during a visit to Pittsburgh. 


The archives contain numerous examples of the affec¬ 
tionate correspondence shared by Mr. and Mrs. Frick 
throughout their lives. In this note written during their 
three-month courtship, Mr. Frick invites his future 
bride to go riding. 

8 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


lists and catering receipts reveal the scale 
and style in which they entertained their 
circle of friends, while other manuscripts 
document their various modes of travel, 
whether by automobile, steamship, or their 
custom-built private railroad car, the 
Westmoreland. Fricks correspondence and 
financial records repeatedly demonstrate his 
generosity to members of his extended family 
and his support of numerous charitable 
causes. In 1911, for example, Annie Sullivan 
Macy appealed to Frick for assistance in 
resolving the difficult financial situation 
faced by her pupil, Helen Keller. Macy s orig¬ 
inal letter as well as a copy of Frick’s response 
pledging five hundred dollars a year for five 
years (along with receipts for each of the 
dispersals) are preserved among the papers. 

As one would expect, a significant por¬ 
tion of the archives is devoted to Frick’s 
business interests, extending far beyond the 
production of coal and coke to include 

major real estate ventures and vast railroad 
holdings. Beginning with the earliest ledgers 
of Frick 8c Co. in 1871, records include scrap¬ 
books of the 1892 Homestead Strike in 
Pittsburgh and a variety of correspondence 
with Andrew Carnegie, Henry Phipps, and 
Andrew Mellon, from the briefest of cables 
(occasionally written in code) to lengthy 
typewritten letters. Additional papers docu¬ 

ment Frick’s dealings with U.S. Steel, 
Pennsylvania Railroad, and other promi¬ 
nent enterprises, as well as his connections 
to presidents McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft. 

Under an agreement with The Helen Clay 
Frick Foundation, the archives are held joint¬ 
ly by The Frick Collection and the University 
of Pittsburgh, with the materials relating to 
the family and Frick’s art purchases primarily 
under the care of the Collection. Until the 
archives came to the Library for conservation 
and reorganization, their usefulness was 
hampered by a lack of access and by physical 
threats such as mold. These concerns are now 
being addressed, and recent conservation 
treatments and ongoing cataloguing will 
only increase the use of this invaluable 
resource .—Julie Ludwig, Assistant Archivist 


The Frick family traveled abroad frequently, and the 
archives contain mementos such as these steamship¬ 
line passenger lists. Other remembrances include 
photographs, concert programs, and hotel receipts. 


In preparation for the exhibition. Chief Archivist Sally 
Brazil (left) and Assistant Archivist Julie Ludwig review 
holdings in The Helen Clay Frick Foundation Archives. 

Winter 2003 9 


Archives Reveal New Information about 

Chatsworth Acquisition 

H enry Clay Frick spared no expense 
when he furnished his new home at 
One East Seventieth Street. Among the 
treasures he acquired were the magnificent 
secretaire and matching commode once 
belonging to Marie-Antoinette and the 
famous Fragonard panels, 
all purchased in 1915 from 
the estate of J. R Morgan. 

The histories of these pieces 
are familiar to many visi¬ 
tors, but countless stories 
remain to be told about fur¬ 
niture in the Collection that 
is less well known. Indeed, 
while extensive scholarship 
exists about most works in 
the Collection, the wealth of 
information in the Frick archives provides 
ongoing opportunities for new contribu¬ 
tions, insights, and study. Recent consulta¬ 
tion of archival material relating to a suite 
of Chatsworth furniture—prompted by last 
November’s lecture about Chatsworth by 
the Duchess of Devonshire—brought new 
information to light about its acquisition. 

A year before Frick purchased the 
Fragonard panels for his drawing room, he 
already had made a major purchase for the 
same room: a suite of eight fauteuils (arm- 


Workshop of Francois Boucher (1703-1770), 
Petit Jardinier, 1749, black chalk on paper, 
Musee National de Ceramique, Paris 


Two fauteuils with tapestry covers woven by the 
Gobelins manufactory, eighteenth century, after 
designs by Boucher. The seat back of the chair on the 
left is based on the drawing illustrated above. 

chairs), two large canapes, and a fire screen 
from Chatsworth, the English country estate 
of the Duke of Devonshire. Frick bought the 
furniture from Victor Cavendish, the ninth 
duke, who was forced to sell many valuable 
items from his family’s collection in order to 
raise £540,000 (the equiva¬ 
lent of $37,200,000 today) to 
pay taxes after he inherited 
Chatsworth in 1908. 

The pieces were covered 
in French tapestries mount¬ 
ed on eighteenth-century 
English frames of gilded 
wood in the French style. (At 
the time that Frick acquired 
the furniture, it was presumed 
that the tapestry covers dated 
from the period between Louis XIV and 
Louis XV and were made by the Beauvais 

manufactory; later research revealed that 
the covers of two of the chairs were made 
in the eighteenth century by the Gobelins 
manufactory, after designs of Francois 
Boucher’s gardening children. The other 
covers were made in the nineteenth century, 
probably at the same or another French 
manufactory, as replacements for the origi¬ 
nal covers, which had worn out.) 

It is not known how Frick learned about 
the Chatsworth suite, but it is possible that 
he heard about its sale from the Flonorable 
Alfred Anson of London or from his friend 
Edward Rathbone Bacon, a New York-based 
lawyer, both of whom were involved in the 
acquisition. Letters in the Frick archives pro¬ 
vide intriguing glimpses into the transaction, 
which was conducted with great secrecy. 

Anson wrote to Frick in Paris on May 17, 
1914: ‘T saw [the duke] yesterday and from 

10 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


what he said I think he would rather you 
went down to Chatsworth to see the things. I 
think his idea is that it would excite attention 
if all these things were carted up to 
London....” Frick visited Chatsworth within 
the week and sailed for New York at the end 
of May, having agreed to the duke s price of 
£40,000 for the suite. 

Before the arrangement was concluded, a 
slight disagreement arose about the fire 
screen. The duke had initially included it in 
the sale, thinking that the screen was part of 
the suite; his wife, however, pointed out that 
it was not and was reluctant to let it go. 
Frick agreed to pay an additional £400 for 

the screen, and shortly thereafter the furni¬ 
ture was shipped to Paris for restoration. 

As Frick intended the furniture for the 
drawing room of his New York house, he was 
advised to have the tapestries remounted on 
frames in a Louis XV style, which was better 
suited to the decor of the room. New frames 
were made by the Parisian restorer J. G. 
Mans, and the original eighteenth-century 
frames were reupholstered with crimson 
damask for use elsewhere in the house 
(regrettably, these were later sold). 

The outbreak of the war delayed the 
shipping of the refurbished furniture, and 
on October 6, 1915, Mans wrote to Bacon, 
“Owing to the actual dangers of expedition, 
1 would advise your friend not to have the 
things sent yet as if the ship was torpedoed 
or sunk, it would be impossible to replace 
these articles as they are unique....” 

By the time the suite arrived in New York 
nearly a year and a half after Frick had pur¬ 
chased it, he had other plans for his drawing 
room. In 1916 he offered the furniture to 
an acquaintance, Edward T. Stotesbury, 
president of Drexel and Company in 
Philadelphia, explaining: “I intended it for 


my drawing room, but after the purchase of 
the Fragonards, I found it was too strong and 
too large for the room. As I am told you are 
building a very beautiful country house, I 
thought this would be just the thing for you. 
The furniture was in the Duke’s residence at 
Chatsworth, where I saw it, and he seemed to 
part with it rather reluctantly, but needed 
money to pay taxes. The price is $250,000; 
this price does not quite cover the cost to 
me.” Stotesbury declined, saying that he was 
not going to use such expensive furniture. 

Some of the pieces found a place on the 
upper floor of the Frick mansion in the family 
quarters. After the house became a museum 
in 1935 , the canapes and fire screen were put 
into storage, while the armchairs were placed 
around the walls of the East Gallery, where 
visitors can still enjoy them today. 

—Susan Grace Galassiy Gurator 


Canape and fire screen with tapestry covers, probably 
nineteenth century, mounted on frames c. 1914. The 
detail shows the center panel of the back of the canape, 
which depicts Venus and Cupid. 

Winter 2003 11 


Yvonne Elet Joins Curatorial Staff as 

First Andrew W. Mellon Fellow 

L ast September, Yvonne Elet began a 
two-year residency as The Frick 
Collection s first Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. 
Elet, who is currently working on her doc¬ 
toral dissertation at New York University’s 
Institute of Fine Arts, specializes in Italian 
and French Renaissance art and architecture. 
Over the next six years, the Frick will wel¬ 
come five Andrew W. Mellon Fellows, all of 
whom will receive object-based training as 
well as access to supervision and resources at 
both the Collection and the Frick Art 
Reference Library that will assist them in fin¬ 
ishing their dissertations. The Frick is 
extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation 
for funding this program, the goal of which is 
to contribute toward the development of the 
next generation of museum professionals. 

During her fellowship, Elet will work with 
the curatorial and conservation departments 
on several projects, including researching 
objects in the Collection and organizing the 
annual Symposium on the History of Art, 
which is co-sponsored by the Frick and the 
Institute of Fine Arts. Together with Objects 
Conservator Barbara Roberts, she is planning 
the reinstallation of the Limoges enamels, 
which were deinstalled last summer to 
undergo conservation. Elet also plans to 
mount a Cabinet exhibition, which will high¬ 
light a Renaissance work from the Collection. 

Originally from Douglaston, New York, 
Elet has long-standing interests in Renaissance 
culture, art, and music, and in the uses of 
computer technology. As an undergraduate at 
Yale University, she earned her degree in com¬ 
puter science, with minors in art history and 
French. After taking graduate courses at the 
Sorbonne in Paris, Elet joined IBM, working 

first in the marketing division and later as an 
exhibitions coordinator for the IBM Gallery of 
Science and Art. She enjoyed her work in the 
gallery so thoroughly that she began graduate 
studies in art history. 

A doctoral seminar in Rome about the 
conservation of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel 
frescoes introduced her to the close-range 
study of materials and artists’ techniques. She 
has continued to integrate conservation 
issues into her research, whether the works 
are in New York museums or in situ in Italy. 
Her dissertation focuses on the decorations 
of Villa Madama and the Renaissance revival 
of stucco decoration after the antique. Says 
Elet, “The villa, situated on a hillside over¬ 
looking Rome, was designed for the Medici 
popes by Raphael and his school in the early 
sixteenth century. It is a great gesamtkunst- 
werk, integrating architecture, paintings. 

stucco decoration, sculpture, antiquities, 
and landscape design; incredibly, its decora¬ 
tions have never been the object of modern 
scholarly study.” 

She observes that some of the same inter¬ 
ests that have shaped her dissertation 
research—interests in domestic architecture, 
patterns of collecting and display and their 
relation to architecture, and issues of patron¬ 
age—have long drawn her to the Frick 
mansion. “I have loved visiting The Frick 
Collection since I was a teenager, and it is an 
extraordinary privilege to work here, to learn 
from the staff, and to draw on the resources of 
the Collection and Library as I finish my dis¬ 
sertation and begin my career as a scholar.” 
—Rebecca Brooke, Editor 

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow Yvonne Elet at the 
Frick Art Reference Library. 

12 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


Orchid Tradition Continues 

WITH Help from Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II 

O rchids were the height of fashion 
when Henry Clay Frick built his 
New York City residence for his wife and 
daughter. The most highly evolved of all 
plant life, orchids were a source of fascina¬ 
tion, both visual and scientific, to the late 
Edwardian mind at a time when botany and 
zoology were respectable pursuits of the 
educated elite. Not commercially available 
as they are today, the plants were rare and 
expensive—collected from the wild at great 
risk of tropical disease, falls from trees, and 

unfriendly locals. Several wealthy enthusi¬ 
asts are known to have financed expeditions 
to Burma and Ecuador to obtain rare speci¬ 
mens; some of the most beautiful varieties 
still bear their names {Paphiopedilum 
Rothschildiana, for example, is named for 
the Rothschild family). It is no wonder 
that the presence of these exotic blooms in 
a grand mansion came to suggest an almost 
imperial power. 

Although Mr. Erick never financed any 
expeditions, dozens of receipts to orchid 
importers in the Collection archives attest 
to his love of the plants. In keeping with tra¬ 
dition, orchids continue to decorate the 
house today, and many of the flowers dis¬ 
played come from the New Jersey green¬ 
house of Chairman Emeritus Dr. Henry Clay 
Frick II and his wife, Emily, a Trustee. 

With the help of their gardener, David 
H. Booth, the Fricks cultivate thousands of 
orchids, dozens of which are carefully trans¬ 

ported to the Collection to adorn the 
Garden Court for special events such as the 
Spring Party and the Autumn Dinner. 

When Dr. Frick hired Booth twenty years 
ago, the Fricks had only a few orchids. The 
foundation of a serious collection began with 
a donation of plants accumulated by Galen 
Lee, the Frick s horticultural designer and the 
former orchid grower for the New York 
Botanical Garden. Mrs. Frick became fasci¬ 
nated by the plants’ horticultural possibilities 
and expanded a small cultivation space into 
the twenty-two-foot by one-hundred-and- 
twenty-foot greenhouse that exists today. As a 
result of her curatorship and Booth s care, the 
Frick orchids have received dozens of awards 
over the years, and Mrs. Frick was selected 
Honorary Madame Chairman of the Greater 
New York Orchid Society’s International 
Show at the Winter Garden in 2000 and 2001, 
and at Rockefeller Center in 2002. 

Although orchids are much less rare 
today than they were a hundred years ago, 
they are no less beautiful. For many, they still 
conjure up images of Victorian hothouses 
and Gilded Age mansions, so sprays of the 
blossoms mixed with Kentia palms add per¬ 
fectly to The Frick Collection’s ambiance. 
Like the Old Masters that grace the walls, these 
natural works of art have become an integral 
part of the museum visitor’s experience. 

—Galen Lee, Horticultural Designer 


Galen Lee and David H. Booth examine one of the 
many varieties of orchids Booth cultivates for Dr. and 
Mrs. Frick. Each year, dozens of plants are displayed at 
the Collection during events such as the Spring Party 
and Autumn Dinner. 


Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II in their greenhouse. 

Winter 2003 13 



Autumn Dinner 

Guests Pay Tribute to Charlie Rose 

Samuel Sachs 11, Charlie Rose, and Beth Sachs 

O n October 21, supporters of the Frick 
gathered for a black-tie dinner honor¬ 
ing Charlie Rose for his long-standing com¬ 
mitment and contributions to the arts. Rose, 
who is best known for hosting the nightly 
one-hour television show that bears his name, 
has for many years been at the forefront of 
cultural journalism. (In July 2001 Rose s show 
was taped in the Collection galleries and fea¬ 
tured a lively interview with Frick council 
member Jonathan Brown, the guest curator of 
El Greco: Themes and Variations.) 

Two hundred and forty guests enjoyed 
cocktails in the Reception Hall and the 
Seventieth Street Garden and viewed the 
fall loan exhibition, Poussiny Claude, and 
Their World: Seventeenth-Century French 
Drawings from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 
Paris. Following a candlelight dinner in the 
Garden Court and the Oval Room, remarks 
were made by Board President Helen Clay 
Chace, Director Samuel Sachs II, and Charlie 
Rose. Proceeds from the evening—totaling 
more than $500,000—will provide critical 

funding for the Frick s exhibition program. 
Special thanks are due to Katharine and 
William Rayner, the evening s co-chairmen. 

Over the past five years the Frick has 
seen steady and impressive growth in both 
attendance and the funds generated by the 
Autumn Dinner and by its other major 
fundraising event, the Young Fellows Gala, 
which supports the Education Program. 

To learn more about the upcoming Young 
Fellows Gala, A Winter Fete, contact Hilary 
Ewing at (212) 547-6873. 

14 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 


Mimi Stafford and Ned Patterson 


Frederick Eberstadt and Katharine Rayner 

Nonnie and George Frelinghuysen 

Christine Schwarzman and Charlie Rose 

Anne Cox Chambers and Helen Clay Chace 

Winter 2003 15 


Museum Shop 

The Museum Shop offers a wide selection 
of scholarly and popular titles, stationery, 
prints, and special gift items related to the 
Frick s exhibitions and collections. You can 
visit our Shop during regular Collection hours 
or purchase items online at 
Members receive a io% discount on all Shop purchases. 

Anne Vallayer- 
Coster: Painter to 
the Court of Marie- 

256 pages; cloth 

Patriotic Taste: 
Modern Art in Pre- 
Revolutionary Paris 

by Colin B. Bailey 

346 pages; cloth 


Lectures are open to the public without 
charge one half hour before the event. 

January 13 at 6:00 

Andrew W. Mellon’s Purchases 

David Cannadine, Institute for Historical 

Research, London 

Andrew W. Mellon was the greatest 
American art collector of his generation 
and a close friend of Henry Clay Frick. The 
high point of his career was the purchase 
of pictures from the Hermitage Museum 
during the 1930s, which he subsequently 
donated to the American people as part 
of the original collection of Washingtons 
National Gallery of Art. This lecture is part 
of the “Writers, Poets, and Artists” series. 

February 3 at 3:30 

Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818): 
Forerunners and Contemporaries 

Marianne Roland Michel, 
independent scholar 

In 1770, twenty-six-year-old Anne Vallayer 
applied to become a member of the male- 
dominated Academie royale de peinture et 
de sculpture and soon won the support of 
Marie-Antoinette. Although little is known 
about her artistic training, the technical 
mastery seen in her early work indicates 
that she was not a self-taught painter. This 
lecture will reexamine the relationship of 
her art to Dutch and French artistic tradi¬ 
tions and contemporary models. 

March 3 at 6:00 

Giorgione or Titian? The History 
of a Controversy 

Charles Hope, Warburg Institute, London 

The speaker will discuss the confusion that 
arose around 1870 (and persists to this day) 
about the distinction between the works of 
Giorgione and those of Titian. One exam¬ 
ple involves a Titian portrait in The Frick 
Collection that was once thought to be by 
Giorgione. This lecture is the first in a 
series of annual lectures sponsored by the 
Council of The Frick Collection. 

April 23 at 3:30 

Designing Women: Whistler's Portraits 
Margaret F. MacDonald, Centre for 
Whistler Studies, Glasgow 

This lecture will explore Whistler s rela¬ 
tionships with sitters from very different 
walks of life and the production of some of 
his finest work. 


Tickets, limited to two per applicant, are issued in 
response to written requests received on the third 
Monday before the concert. (Please enclose a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope.) Each request 
should be for only one concert. Children under 
ten are not admitted. 

Ticket holders must be seated at least five minutes 
before the concert, at which time unoccupied 
chairs are made available to those on the waiting 
line. The program also will be transmitted in the 
Garden Court, where no tickets are required. 

January 26 at 3:00 

Musica Pacifica: recorder^ violin^ oboe, 
cello/viola da gamba, harpsichord: 
Boismortier, Gibbons, Blow, Handel, 
Telemann, Vivaldi 

February 23 at 3:00 

Emma Johnson, clarinet, with Brian Zeger, 
piano: Brahms, Poulenc, Weber, Messiaen 

March 9 at 3:00 

Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano, with Rudolf 
Jansen, piano: Mozart, Mahler, Schoenberg, 
Grieg, Sibelius, Sjogren 

March 16 at 3:00 

Altenberg Trio: Haydn; Pirchner; Schubert, 
Trio in B Major, Opus 99 

April 13 at 3:00 

Verbruggen Ensemble: Marion Verbruggen, 
recorder; Lucy van Dael, baroque violin; 

Jaap ter Linden, baroque cello; Arthur Haas, 
harpsichord: Gastello, Uccellini, Vivaldi, 
Telemann, J. S. Bach 

April 27 at 3:00 

Arnaldo Cohen, piano: Liszt; Schoenberg; 
set of Brazilian composers; Chopin, 
Twenty-Four Preludes, Opus 28 

Mark Your Calendar 

Thursday, February 6, at 8:30 

Young Fellows Gala 
A Winter Fete 

For information please contact 
Hilary Ewing at (212) 547-6873 

16 The Frick Collection Members' Magazine 






Ways of Helping 
The Frick Collection 

The Frick Collection Calendar 

The Frick Collection depends upon its 
friends to ensure that its collections and 
programs serve the public good and advance 
scholarship. Some of the projects that will 
help to preserve and promote our collec¬ 
tions and stately home include: 

• Future Exhibition Funding 

• Conservation Projects 

• Support for Flistoric Building Preservation 

• Education Programs for New York City 
Public School Teachers 

• Acquisitions 

• Garden Funds 

• Memorial Book Funds 

• Concert Programs 

• Gallery Refurbishment 

Including The Frick Collection in your 
estate plans can be as simple as adding 
a codicil to your will. Please contact Jason 
Herrick, Manager of Special Projects, 
at (212) 547-0663 for further information. 

FFelp Support 

the Frick Art Reference Library 

Procaccini in 

200 pages; $40.00 

This unique 
and well-received 
exhibition spawned 
a companion cata¬ 
logue, which is avail¬ 
able in the Museum Shop. Hall & Knight, the 
show s organizers, will donate the proceeds 
from the sale of the catalogue to the Frick 
Art Reference Library. 

Thank you for your support. 

The Members’ Magazine is published 
three times a year by The Frick Collection 
as a benefit for its members. 

Volume 3, Number 1 
ISSN: 1534-6412 

Editor: Rebecca Brooke 

Claude Monet (1840-1926), detail of Vetheuil 
in Winter, 1878 or 1879, oil on canvas 


Wednesday, January 15, 6:00 Lecture 

“Andrew W. Mellon’s Purchases” by David Cannadine, 

Institute for Historical Research, London 

Tuesday, January 21, 6:30 Fellows Event 

Opening Reception for Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter 

to the Court of Marie-Antoinette 

Wednesday, January 22, 7:00 Fellows Event 
Exhibition viewing and cocktail reception: “Fine Old 
Master and Nineteenth-Century Paintings.” A benefit for 
the Frick Art Reference Library sponsored by Dover Street 
Gallery at Philips Auctioneers. Information and RSVPs: 
(212) 940-1330 

Sunday, January 26,5:00 Concert 

Musica Pacifica: recorder, violin, oboe, cello/viola 

da gamba, harpsichord 


Wednesday, February 5,5:30 Lecture 
“Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818): Forerunners and 
Contemporaries” by Marianne Roland Michel, independ¬ 
ent scholar and specialist in eighteenth-century French art 

Thursday, February 6, 8:30 Young Fellows Event 
A Winter Fete 

Sunday, February 23,3:00 Concert 

Emma Johnson, clarinet, with Brian Zeger, piano 


Wednesday, March 5, 6:00 Lecture 

“Giorgione or Titian? The History of a Controversy” 

by Charles Hope, Warburg Institute, London 

Sunday, March 9, 3:00 Concert 

Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano, with Rudolf Jansen, piano 

Sunday, March 16,3:00 Concert 
Altenberg Trio 


Thursday, April 3, 6:00 Members Event 
New Members Reception 

Sunday, April 13,3:00 Concert 

Verbruggen Ensemble: recorder, baroque violin, baroque 
cello, harpsichord 

Monday, April 21,3:30 Fellows Event 

Opening Reception for Whistler, Women, and Fashion 

Wednesday, April 23,3:30 Lecture 

“Designing Women: Whistler’s Portraits” by Margaret F. 

MacDonald, Centre for Whistler Studies, Glasgow 

Sunday, April 27, 3:00 Concert 
Arnaldo Cohen, piano 

Monday, April 28, 6:00 Members Event 

Special Viewing and Reception for Whistler, Women, 

and Fashion 

Upcoming Exhibitions 
January 22 through March 23, 2003 
Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court 
of Marie-Antoinette 

April 22 through July 13, 2003 
Whistler, Women, and Fashion 

The Frick Collection 

1 East 70th Street 
New York, NY 10021 
(212) 288-0700 

Collection Hours 

10:00 TO 6:00 Tuesday through Thursday; 
10:00 TO 9:00 Fridays; 10:00 to 6:00 
Saturdays; 1:00 to 6:00 Sundays; closed 
Mondays and holidays 


Members receive unlimited free 
admission to The Frick Collection. 

Adults, $12.00; $8.00 for seniors; 

$5.00 for students. Children under ten 
are not admitted, and those under 
sixteen must be accompanied by an adult. 

Frick Art Reference Library 

10 East 71st Street 
New York, NY 10021 
(212) 288-8700 

Library Hours 

10:00 TO 5:00 Monday through 
Friday; 9:30 to 1:00 Saturdays; closed 
Sundays, holiday weekends, Saturdays 
in June and July, and during the month 
of August 

The Library is open to all researchers 
free of charge. 


For information regarding your mem¬ 
bership or to give a membership as a gift, 
please call the Membership Department 
at (212) 547-0707. 

The Museum Shop 

The Museum Shop is open during 
regular Collection hours. For your con¬ 
venience, you may also purchase books, 
prints, and special gift items online at or by telephone, at 
(212) 547-6848. Members always receive 
a 10% discount on all Shop purchases. 

Visit our website at 

Upcoming Exhibitions 

Anne Vallayer-Coster • January 22 through March 23, 2003 
Whistler, Women, and Fashion • April 22 through July 13, 2003